Posted by BC on August 28th, 2008
Yes, folks, it’s back. The Mars hoax is still alive and going strong. If you have not seen it yet, then you are one of the few.
Back in 2003, when Mars was at one of its closest approaches to Earth, an E-mail started going around about Mars being as big as the Full Moon. Mars had a large apparent angular diameter in August of 2003, but it surely was not as large as a Full Moon. Unless something happens to upset the order of the Solar System, and/or the laws of physics, Mars will never appear as large as our Full Moon from our vantage point on Earth.
Many people were taken in by the hoax, and it seems that the same Email made the rounds again this August 27. I have received many email messages asking about it, and people have even stopped me to ask in person.
This August 27, the Moon is between Last Quarter and New, and Mars is not an easy object to find in the sky. The only good thing about the hoax is that people search out answers to astronomical phenomena, giving us a chance to communicate to them what really cool stuff is actually out there.